Trey Casey and Alison Welch

MEMPHIS — The Gulf South Conference recognized two Christian Brothers University student-athletes in its Top Ten, as junior basketball player Trey Casey (Cincinnati, Ohio, La Salle HS) and senior volleyball player Alison Welch (Olive Branch, Miss., Olive Branch HS) were named finalists for the Commissioner’s Trophy, the GSC’s highest individual honor, which recognizes success on the field, in the classroom and in the community.

Casey was a first team All-GSC performer for the Bucs this season, averaging 17.9 points, 2.8 assists and a GSC-best 2.2 steals per game. He was a First Team NABC All-South Region player, and he was voted to the Daktronics All-South Region Second Team. But as lofty as his basketball success has been, Casey’s work in the classroom has been even better, as he carries a perfect 4.0 GPA in business administration with a concentration in finance. Casey was the only student-athlete in the GSC in 2013-14 to earn Capital One First Team Academic All-America honors in any sport. Also the men’s basketball representative on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), he helped lead CBU’s fundraising for Make-A-Wish, and he worked with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis’ ReStore.

Welch was a starter and team captain, leading CBU to its most successful run since joining the NCAA. She was a part of two NCAA Tournament runs, the school’s first ever South Regional in 2011 and then the school’s first South Regional victory in 2012. She also led CBU to the GSC Finals for the first time in school history in 2012. Welch graduated with a stellar 3.85 GPA in psychology, earning Dean’s List honors all eight semesters, and she was one of only two unanimous selections to the GSC Fall All-Academic Team this season. She has been CBU’s SAAC representative for three years, and she has spent the past two years as the GSC’s SAAC representative to the NCAA Division II SAAC. She has also been active in the community, volunteering at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital and Hope House, a daycare center for children affected by HIV.

Posted in Uncategorized

MEMPHIS — The CBU School of Engineering hosted a week-long summer program called “Future Women Engineers” for high school girls from various Memphis area schools. Dr. Divya Choudhary was the program coordinator.

Each day of the program, the students spent half the day in a hands-on engineering workshop. For the other half, they went on an industrial tour related to that particular area of engineering. The  half-day workshops were conducted by Dr. Choudhary (Electrical & Computer Engineering), Dr. Randel Price (Chemical Engineering), Dr. Paul Shiue (Mechanical Engineering), and Dr. Andrew Assadollahi (Civil Engineering) and Dr. Pong Malasri (Packaging workshop). Ms. Leslie Herlihy, Mr. Robert Moats, and Mr. Henry Rhodes helped with the program and workshops.

Only 40 girls were accepted into this competitive program. CBU engineering lab technician Bob Moats said that this program is a great opportunity for these students. “It is a wonderful program that exposes young smart people to something that they couldn’t get anywhere else. CBU is the only university equipped to do it. ”

The students also agree that the program is beneficial.

“I have learned a lot about how you can apply the experiments we learned in the industrial world,”said Phoebe Anderson, a sophomore at White Station High-School. “We went on tours to actually understand how these things work that we see and use every day.”

Destiny Blalock, a senior at Kipp Delta, traveled from Helena, AR to participate in the program. “The most important thing that I have learned this week is that engineering will always be around,” she said. There will always be jobs available because engineering is simply about creating things. I am most excited to really know that female engineering has emerged and will continue to do so in the future.”

The program was funded by CBU trustee, Mr. Richard Gadomski.

Pictured above
are Dr. Shiue,  Dr. Pong Malasri, Dr. Choudhary, Dr. Price and Dr. Assadollahi along with the participants of the program. Additional photos are in the gallery below:

Posted in Academics, Faculty & Staff, Press Releases, School of Engineering

Somali refugees and Peace of Thread volunteers at CBU.

MEMPHIS — Several local Somali women refugees are finding serenity within Peace of Thread to help combat a rocky past, while learning useful skills to help them adapt in their new homes.

Peace of Thread (POT) is a non-profit organization started in Atlanta, aiming to help women refugees who were uprooted from their countries to become self-reliant and confident in their new homes in the United States. Through this organization, these women are taught a common skill such as sewing, so that they can support their families, adapt and thrive in an unfamiliar place.

Christian Brothers University (CBU) recently opened its doors to ensure that this organization had a place to work for a week. During this time, POT had a safe and reliable place for the women refugees and their children to work and learn.

While learning to sew, these refugees are taught many different necessities such as social interaction through group outings, learning how to speak English and are also taught to handle simple banking needs. They even begin to learn the value of the American dollar through the sale of their items on the online Peace of Thread store, where the proceeds go right back into the organization.

“We want them to know that everyone is allowed to work hard for the American dream. This is their home now, they can’t go back,” said Denise Smith, founder of POT. “If Memphis will open up their hearts and help them become active parts of the community, we will change lives together.”

“Just as CBU prepares future leaders to engage in meaningful service, so too are we deeply committed to partnering with organizations who are working to improve the Memphis community,” said Wendy Sumner- Winter, Senior Director of External Affairs & Donor Relations for CBU. “We were so pleased to have the opportunity to host the women of Peace of Thread on the CBU campus. Their mission of empowering women to make a better life for themselves through entrepreneurship reflects the spirit of Lasallianism, which is the foundation of our own community.  As a member of the global network of Lasallian Institutions, which serves the populations from which these women have fled, it is fitting that we welcome them into their new country and new life,”

Mariam Mohamed, a recent nursing school graduate and POT volunteer says that her mother came to the United States in 2005 from Haramaya, Ethiopia and is in the program with seven children.

“As a single mom, this program is perfect for her. She can stay home with her children while gaining skills in making bags and purses,” Mohamed said. “Because of their cultures back home, most of them are happy to be able to have employment at home.”

POT has been in operation since 2011 and is supported solely by volunteers and donations. Memphis is the second city to help continue POT’s efforts. The Memphis program is under the leadership of Renee Lamb, who hopes that Memphis is receptive of POT and is willing to help.

“Most of all we need a consistent safe place to work once a week,” Lamb said. “We have a lot of sewing machines and would like to leave them some place safe. We need volunteers to help keep the children while the mothers are working and we need donations for supplies.”

POT’s founder Denise Smith says that growing up, she always wanted to change lives; she credits Mother Teresa.

“Mother Teresa was my hero, but then I realized that I am not her; I am Denise Smith. I am passionate about helping and changing lives. It is so rewarding to see a woman start to have a voice,” she said. “They don’t want a hand-out, they want to work.”

If you would like to volunteer or donate to Peace of Thread, please contact Memphis’ director Renee Lamb at To purchase Peace of Thread merchandise, visit

Posted in Lasallian, Memphis Community, Press Releases

MEMPHIS, TN — Dr. Siripong Malasri has been appointed Dean of the School of Engineering at Christian Brothers University (CBU). Malasri has already played a significant role within the CBU engineering program during his 25-year tenure as a faculty member, department chair, program director, and a previous term as dean. Malasri will be responsible for recruiting, budgeting, preparing reports, working with faculty and staff to develop a long-term strategy for the University, supervising and participating in the expansion of degree programs, and being the public face for the School of Engineering.

Malasri is excited to take on the challenge as dean and believes that CBU will see the benefit.

“I see several opportunities in taking CBU engineering to the next level,” he said. “Memphis is home of many great companies. We need to establish industry-university relationship in a more formal way. We have already done this quite successfully through the CBU Healthcare Packaging Consortium during the last four years. We also need to collaborate with other universities. By combining our strengths with other local institutions, we will be a greater asset to the Memphis community together.”

Malasri is also a Professor of Civil Engineering at CBU and serves as the Interim Director of the Graduate Engineering Program, Chair of the Packaging Department and Director of the Healthcare Packaging Consortium. He is a registered professional engineer in the State of Tennessee and is an ISTA certified packaging laboratory technologist. Malasri has authored various publications related to transport packaging, artificial intelligence and engineering education. Currently he serves as editor-in-chief for the International Journal of Advanced Packaging Technology.

Malasri holds a PhD in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M University, as well as a master’s degree from the Asian Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree from Chulalongkorn University in Thailand.

The CBU School of Engineering offers a 50+-year legacy of individualized engineering education with ABET accredited degrees in the four major engineering disciplines: chemical, civil, electrical and mechanical.  A CBU engineering education is distinguished by personalized interaction between students and faculty, a strong laboratory component in the curricula and an emphasis on real-world experience through hands-on design projects and internships.

For more information on the CBU School of Engineering, visit or call (901) 321-3405.

Posted in Academics, Administration, Press Releases, School of Engineering

Research overwhelming indicates happy employees are higher performers. With that in mind, Christian Brothers University (CBU) is offering Happiness 101 this summer, an online course designed for working adults.

The Happiness 101 course is being offered as a Business class through CBU’s new College of Adult Professional Studies and will be taught by Dr. Bevalee Vitali, an associate professor of management at CBU. The course is designed to be highly interactive, with discussions, activities and assignments all developed to promote happiness and well-being. Because the course is completely online, students can improve their happiness level in a convenient, non-threatening environment.

Study after study shows happier employees are more engaged, more motivated, more innovative, give better customer service, play more effective roles in teams and make better leaders. In fact, managers ignoring this research run the risk of costing their organizations hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. For example, an organization with 100 happy workers will experience $15,000 less in costs from absenteeism, $27,000 less in expenses from turnover, and be $297,500 more productive than their unhappy competitors.

Happiness 101 will deal with not only psychological factors but also business philosophies and practices put forth in the “strengths movement” and studies into well-being by the Gallup company.

The goal of the course is to address happiness research from two perspectives. First, it will address how individual employees can improve their own happiness levels in order to become more effective at work. Behavioral interventions will be discussed which will improve mindfulness, engagement and performance, giving students an edge at work. Second, the class will discuss action plans and strategies for managers and organizational leaders to improve the happiness levels of all employees.

The College of Adult Professional Studies (CAPS) at CBU offers a course delivery model that utilizes in-class and online class time. The program is oriented more specifically to older professional students, with different degree paradigms requiring statistics, speech, math and English courses that are more immediately oriented to a business focus. The College offers two new baccalaureate degree programs, the Bachelor of Arts in Professional Psychology and the Bachelor of Science in Business Studies. Additionally, this fall CAPS will institute three new associate degree programs, the Associate of Arts in Psychology, the Associate of Arts in General Studies and the Associate of Science in Business Studies

For more information on Happiness 101, contact Dr. Bev Vitali at (901) 321-3578 or For more information on the CBU College of Adult Professional Studies, call (901) 321-3291 or visit

Posted in Academics, Adult Professional Studies, Faculty & Staff, Press Releases, School of Business

Bachelor’s and Associate Degrees in Psychology, Business and General Studies Added

MEMPHIS — In response to the changing market demands in adult undergraduate education, Christian Brothers University (CBU) has established the College of Adult Professional Studies. CBU has long been a leader and innovator in adult education, starting its accelerated Evening Program in 1978. Started in January 2014, the College of Adult Professional Studies changed its course delivery model to one that utilizes in-class and online class time. The program is oriented more specifically to older professional students, with different degree paradigms requiring statistics, speech, math and English courses that are more immediately oriented to a business focus.

“We are very aware that adult students have very different needs,” says Toni Ross, Dean of the College of Adult Professional Studies. “Their schedules are different from traditional college-age students, and their lives have different priorities. We recognize and respect those differences, and we have designed our new programs to accommodate them.” The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning ( has already certified CBU’s College of Adult Professional Studies as an “Adult Learning Focused Institution.”

The College of Adult Professional Studies (CAPS) has already established two new baccalaureate degree programs, the Bachelor of Arts in Professional Psychology and the Bachelor of Science in Business Studies. Additionally, this fall CAPS will institute three new associate degree programs, the Associate of Arts in Psychology, the Associate of Arts in General Studies and the Associate of Science in Business Studies.

“One of the biggest obstacles that adult learners face in completing a degree program is how to pay for college,” Ross adds. “We want to help ease that burden.
CBU’s core mission has always revolved around the idea that high-quality education should be accessible to everyone. In that spirit, we’ve also dropped our tuition rate for the CAPS program.” Formerly, tuition for CBU’s adult program was $500 per credit hour. The College of Adult Professional Studies lowered that rate to $395 per credit hour.

The Bachelor of Arts in Professional Psychology degree is designed to provide fundamentals of psychology, with focus in areas of demand and growth potential. Within this program, students may choose from three optional areas of concentration: Criminal Justice, Organizational Psychology and Consumer Behavior. The Criminal Justice concentration will focus on topics such as criminology, law enforcement, corrections, public administration, juvenile justice and counseling. The Organizational Psychology concentration applies the principles and science of psychology to human resources development and management. The Consumer Behavior concentration will cover topics such as motivation, persuasion, sales and promotional strategy and how they support marketing efforts in a business environment.

The curriculum of the Bachelor of Science in Business Studies degree is specifically designed to provide adult learners with core business skills, emphasizing planning and decision-making skills.  Coursework focuses on such topics as organizational structure and behavior, leadership theory, networking, human resources, international business, corporate policy and strategic planning. A concentration is offered in Management, as well as a concentration in Management of Information Systems, which focuses on topics such as networks and security, systems design and analysis, database design and data mining, web applications and development, and project management.

The new Associate of Arts and Associate of Science programs are designed to provide a solid understanding of foundational skills in each degree area, while providing a variety of elective courses that allow students to customize their education to their interests. Students may also choose from traditional in-class courses, hybrid/blended learning and entirely online formats. Credits may be transferred from previous educational experiences, and the associate degree programs also provide a solid foundation for future bachelor’s degree course work.

CBU has established transfer agreements with some local community colleges, including Midsouth Community College, Northwest Mississippi Community College, and Southwest Tennessee Community College. Students at these community colleges who plan to transfer to CBU can be confident that certain credits will be accepted by CBU. CBU also participates in the TN Transfer Pathway program.

Program start dates will be in January, March, June, August, and October. More information on the College of Adult Professional Studies at CBU is available at or at (901) 321-3291.


Posted in Academics, Adult Professional Studies, Memphis Community, Press Releases

CBU School of Arts is renamed in honor of benefactor, Dr. Rose Deal

A portrait of Dr. Rose Deal by Jason Bouldin, commissioned by CBU

MEMPHIS—Christian Brothers University (CBU) today announced the renaming of its School of Arts as the “Rose Deal School of Arts” in honor of a gift from the Rose G. Deal Educational Charitable Trust. A bequest of $5.4 million from the estate of Dr. Rose Deal, it represents the largest individual gift in the history of the University. It also pushes the University’s fundraising total for the fiscal year, which ends May 31, to $12 million — surpassing CBU’s previous historical high of $8.4 million in fiscal year 2007.

Dr. Deal, who passed away in May 2012, was hired in 1961 as the first female faculty member at what was then an all-male Christian Brothers College. She continued teaching foreign languages and European history at the coeducational Christian Brothers University until her final retirement in 1994. She was honored by the University as a professor emerita and also awarded the CBU Maurelian Medal for outstanding service. In 2002, she was named an affiliated member of the Christian Brothers—the highest honor granted by the Roman Catholic teaching order.

“Rose’s impact at this University was enormous, even before she made this generous bequest” said Dr. John Smarrelli Jr., university president. “She was always an active and vocal advocate for the liberal arts here at CBU. The general public might sometimes perceive us as focused more on the engineering and scientific disciplines, but the fact is that CBU’s educational core is strongly rooted in the arts. The liberal arts form the foundation for every degree that we grant. It is only fitting that Dr. Rose Deal’s name is attached to that foundation.”

The Board of Trustees at CBU has announced that it will be examining potential capital improvements to further develop, enhance and facilitate the Rose Deal School of Arts.

The Rose Deal School of Arts at CBU offers bachelor’s degrees in Applied Psychology, Child Development, Cultural Studies, Creative Writing, English, English for Corporate Communications, History, Liberal Studies, Psychology, Religion and Philosophy, and Studio Art. It also offers master’s degrees in Education and Catholic Studies. It is one of four academic schools at CBU, along with the School of Business, the School of Engineering and the School of Sciences.

For more information on CBU’s Rose Deal School of Arts, visit For information on the gift by Dr. Deal, contact the CBU Office of Advancement at (901) 321-3270.


Posted in Administration, Advancement, Faculty & Staff, Lasallian, Press Releases, School of Arts, Uncategorized

MEMPHIS — On May 17, Christian Brothers University (CBU) will claim the distinction of graduating the first class of physician assistants educated in the city of Memphis — 31 students who were admitted into the first cohort of the city’s first PA program.

“To be a part of not only the first master’s class in Physician Assistant Studies program at CBU, but also the first in the city of Memphis, is truly an honor,” said Cecilia Maxwell, a member of the graduating class. “I am proud to say that we have set the mark which other physician assistant students and programs may follow. To be a part of the first class is truly a humbling experience.”

Dr. Mark John Scott, director of Physician Assistant Studies at CBU, says that the program is not only groundbreaking, but is also much needed in the city. “The fact that this is the first program in Memphis is innovative in itself, but the PA as well as the BSN programs made CBU competitive in the healthcare market. We literally took a blank sheet of paper and created an entire program.” There was a known need for a program of this sort after a survey gauging the need for physician assistants went out to 100 Mid-South physicians. Eighty percent of the physicians responded positively to the survey and most expressed a desire to employ these students upon their graduation.

“We need to step back and look at healthcare,” Scott added. “Memphis is fortunate to have world-renowned expertise in this city, but we need primary care. We need someone you go to when you have a sore throat.” He states that healthcare today is too complex for one person to do it.  Adding PAs will help with the patient-physician relationship, by adding more one-on-one time.

Physician assistants are licensed to practice medicine as part of a team of physicians. They are qualified and licensed to conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel patients and families on healthcare issues including preventive care, and assist in surgery. Physician assistants are licensed to practice medicine, issue prescriptions, and practice in all medical fields including primary care, internal medicine and subspecialties, as well as surgical and emergency care. The PA’s scope of practice may also include education, research, and administrative services.

The CBU program, which currently numbers 106 students, is run and taught by Dr. Scott, along with six full-time and six adjunct faculty members. The cohort-based program consists of 110 credit hours offered over 27 months or seven continuous semesters. The curriculum focuses on six major competency components: medical knowledge, interpersonal and communication skills, patient care, professionalism, practice-based learning and improvement and systems-based practice.

The graduation of the first PA class also requires a formal addition to CBU’s traditional Commencement ceremony: the recitation of the Hippocratic Oath.

“The public affirmation of the Oath will draw attention to CBU’s success in establishing a true medical program on campus,” Scott said.  “Its addition is also an excellent way to mark the successful completion of our inaugural class.”

Scott is very impressed with tenacity of his graduating PA class. “We need to recognize the courage of the first students to graduate from the first PA program in the city. We weren’t even accredited yet when they first started this journey. They put faith in us that we were going to get them where they needed to be,” he said. “Dreams do come true.”

CBU’s Commencement Exercises will be held on Saturday, May 17 at 11:00 a.m. at Signaigo Field on the University campus. Other degrees being awarded include bachelor’s degrees in accounting, arts, fine arts, business, engineering, sciences and mathematics. Master’s degrees will also be awarded in education, accounting, business administration and engineering management.

For more information on the Physician Assistant Studies program at CBU, visit or call (901) 321-3388.

For more information on the CBU Commencement Exercises, visit or contact the CBU Office of Student Life at (901) 321-3531.

Posted in Academics, Alumni, Events, Faculty & Staff, Memphis Community, Press Releases, School of Sciences
MEMPHIS — Christian Brothers University President Dr. John Smarrelli Jr., has appointed Brian Summers as CBU’s seventh Director of Athletics, effective June 30. Summers comes to CBU after a distinguished 13-year career at Lewis University, a fellow NCAA D-II Lasallian school in Romeoville, Ill.

“I am so pleased to welcome Brian Summers to the CBU family,” Smarrelli said. “Having served at our sister university, Lewis, in Chicago, Brian brings a deep a
wareness and respect for CBU’s Lasallian heritage and mission. Integrity and character are important to me, and I’m very impressed with his strengths on those attributes. His professional and operational skills and his commitment to improving the experience of our student athletes both on and off the field will help to position our athletic program for significant growth.”

“I’d like to thank President Smarrelli and the search committee for entrusting me with the Christian Brothers University Athletics Department,” Summers said. “I am honored to replace CBU icon Joe Nadicksbernd, and I look forward to working with the student athletes, coaches, staff and University community to develop the program into a model NCAA Division II athletics department. Also, I relish the ability to continue serving students in the Lasallian tradition.”

Since December 2010, Summers has been Associate Director of Athletics – Director of External Relations, and he served from 2005-2010 as Assistant Director of Athletics – Marketing/Promotions Coordinator.

In those roles at Lewis, Summers supervises 10 of the school’s 18 sports, oversees all athletics fundraising and directs the department’s marketing and promotions efforts.

He started the school’s first corporate sponsorship program, which has generated more than a half-million dollars since its inception, and he expanded the school’s Varsity Club tenfold.

Summers also helped build community support for the athletics department. He developed student fan reward programs and marketing and promotions programs that led to an 8.5 percent increase in game attendance, and he was the primary game management supervisor.

A strong supporter of the NCAA Division II Community Engagement goal, he created a nationally-recognized community engagement program, “Spread Your Wings.” In that program, Lewis’ teams compete for points in a variety of ways including academic success, attendance at campus events and community service. In all, the initiative helps generate more than 3,000 community service hours annually.

Prior to moving into marketing, promotions and fundraising, Summers spent four years as Assistant Sports Information Director at Lewis. He was the primary contact for eight sports, and he led the effort to launch a new athletics website with an industry-leading host.

Summers also serves as Commissioner of the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association this year, an NCAA Division I men’s volleyball conference. He served two years as the chair of the NCAA Men’s Volleyball National Committee after spending two years as the Midwest representative to the committee, and he has served the last three years on the NCAA Division II Baseball Midwest Regional Committee.

Summers earned his Bachelor’s degree in English in 2000 at North Central College, where he also played baseball and golf. He earned his Master of Business Administration, with an emphasis in finance at Lewis in 2005.

He and his wife, Tracy, have a daughter, Peyton, and their second child is due this summer.

Posted in Administration, Athletics, Faculty & Staff, Press Releases

CBU will host a lecture and demonstration by Ben McClelland, the main author of the book Lifesaving Labradors, on April 30 at 5:30 p.m. in Spain Auditorium.

McClelland is a Professor and Schillig Chair of English at the University of Mississippi, where he has taught for 26 years. Since 2011, he has been associated with Wildrose Kennels as an apprentice trainer and blog writer.

Lifesaving Labradors is a collection of true stories of people with Type 1 Diabetes that use Diabetic Alert Dogs or DADs to smell changes in their blood sugar levels. Using their sight and smell, these dogs keep their owners safe from life-threatening blood sugar episodes like falling into a coma or going into a stroke. It addresses issues of interest within the medical community today.

McClelland will lead a discussion and will be doing a demonstration with his dog. Following the lecture and demonstration, he will be available to sign copies of the book. Refreshments will be served. Open to the public and free of charge.

Posted in Academics, Events, Press Releases, Student Life